Family Caregivers, Gentog Seniors Alzheimers, Celebration of LIfe

Farewell, George!


Today I attended a Celebration of Life for our friend George.  While he only attended Gentog for 6 months – and it’s been three years since he left our program, he made a definite impact.  He was a professor by trade, and he brought that spirit to Gentog every day.  He was our only participant that always wore a suit when he came.  He often used our white board for creating his fun art – as you can see from the picture above.  He occasionally put on a lecture about astronomy, which surprisingly many of our participants enjoyed.  He was a special guy.

But today I spent a little while with his family and friends – the people that had loved him for many years BEFORE we knew him.  One of his close friends asked me “Did you know him before Alzheimer’s?”, and I had to answer “No.”  I enjoyed hearing the George stories – George as a true professor that inspired young minds, George as a Dad who taught his children many valuable life lessons, George as a husband who had a wife that truly adored him.  It was fun to hear about George’s life.

I had a couple of revelations as I mingled today.  One is that I knew George was a special guy, before I heard these stories.  I may never have known him without the cloud of Alzheimer’s, but his spirit always showed through.  I knew that he had to be a pretty cool guy because I’ve become friends with the wife he loved and the children he raised.

I also learned today that the service we provide at Gentog has many layers.  We absolutely create a place where someone with Alzheimer’s can come and be accepted and celebrated for who they are today.  We also create a community where families can get to know each other.  Two of the people at the celebration today were wives of Gentog participants that have passed away – and they’ve stayed connected with George’s wife for these three years, after meeting and bonding here.  We create a support system, a community, a family.

So I say goodbye to our friend George.  And I thank him705275_10151461552607596_860298317_o for one last lesson – he showed me today that what we do makes a difference. God bless you, George.  See you in the stars!!